The Purple Cabbage
iPhoneOgraphy – 08 Feb 2016 (Day 39/366)
Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa, subspecies pekinensis and chinensis) can refer to two groups of Chinese leaf vegetables often used in Chinese cuisine: the Pekinensis Group (napa cabbage) and the Chinensis Group (bok choy).
These vegetables are both variant cultivars and subspecies of the turnip and belong to the same genus as such Western staples as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Both have many variations in name, spelling, and scientific classification, especially the bok choy (B. rapa chinensis) variety.
The Chinese cabbage was principally grown in the Yangtze River Delta region, but the Ming Dynasty naturalist Li Shizhen popularized it by bringing attention to its medicinal qualities. The variant cultivated in Zhejiang around the 14th century was brought north and the northern harvest of napa cabbage soon exceeded the southern one. These were then exported back south along the Grand Canal to Hangzhou and traded by sea as far south as Guangdong.
Napa cabbage became a staple in Northeastern Chinese cuisine for making suan cai, Chinese sauerkraut. In Korea, this developed into kimchi. Chinese cabbage is now commonly found in markets throughout the world, catering both to the Chinese diaspora and to northern markets who appreciate its resistance to cold.
In addition to its usual purpose as an edible vegetable, cabbage has been used historically as a medicinal herb for a variety of purported health benefits. The Ancient Greeks recommended consuming the vegetable as a laxative, and used cabbage juice as an antidote for mushroom poisoning, for eye salves, and for liniments used to help bruises heal. In Cato the Elder’s work De Agri Cultura (“On Agriculture”), he suggested that women could prevent diseases by bathing in urine obtained from those who had frequently eaten cabbage. The ancient Roman nobleman Pliny the Elder described both culinary and medicinal properties of the vegetable, recommending it for drunkenness—both preventatively to counter the effects of alcohol, and to cure hangovers. Similarly, the Ancient Egyptians ate cooked cabbage at the beginning of meals to reduce the intoxicating effects of wine. This traditional usage persisted in European literature until the mid-20th century.
The cooling properties of the leaves were used in Britain as a treatment for trench foot in World War I, and as compresses for ulcers and breast abscesses. Accumulated scientific evidence corroborates that cabbage leaf treatment can reduce the pain and hardness of engorged breasts, and increase the duration of breast feeding. Other medicinal uses recorded in Europe folk medicine include treatments for rheumatism, sore throat, hoarseness, colic, and melancholy. In the United States, cabbage has been used as a hangover cure, to treat abscesses, to prevent sunstroke, or to cool body parts affected by fevers. The leaves have also been used to soothe sore feet and, when tied around the neck of children, to relieve croup. Both mashed cabbage and cabbage juice have been used in poultices to remove boils and treat warts, pneumonia, appendicitis, and ulcers.
Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+